France's dying Fifth Republic reduced to a human interest story

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The French Republic is in its death throes, having been taken hostage by a maniac – François Fillon - who is riding roughshod over the legal system, insulting the press, scorning his own elected representatives and calling on divisive factions for help. Having destroyed political parties, corrupted Parliament and having undermined voting itself, the Fifth Republic is now reaching the climax of its democracy-destroying operation. It is time to get rid of it, writes Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel, before it is too late.

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France's Fifth Republic, which operates as a permanent coup d'état, will end up by devouring politics itself. Its principles, its values, its procedures, its rules, its parties, its institutions, its customs, its manners, its overarching common purpose, all those elements that maintained a semblance of democratic culture shared by the majority of parties and citizens. Here it is, dying before our very eyes, taken hostage by a maniac who is destroying all its symbols and trampling over all its points of reference.